Friday, May 12

This Morning's Surgery

This morning's date with my doctor at 10:00 proved worth noting. No mention of what HMO I belong to, but it rhymes with 'miser.' The assistant put me in a regular room after taking my vitals. Then she came back in and said, "We need to have you in another room. Sorry." She was really nice about it. Then, while in the little (and I mean little) surgery room, another assistant came in and said, "We need to have you in another room. Follow me." This room was right across the hall. A little bigger room and nicer bed to lie on, I think. So the second assistant, who used to be my doctor's assistant for years, told the first assistant (who was just filling in and was having problems) to do this and that, get this and that for the tray. The tray ended up a few inches high with scissors, pliers, syringe, scalpel, gauze, plus lots of other stuff. Mostly 2 or 3 apiece items. Must be major surgery today.

My poor doctor comes in, ready to go. I'm sitting there in my 'modesty' gown, smiling and enjoying the routine. He raises the bed and flattens it. "Okay, we'll have you lie on your stomach. I hate lying on my stomach for anything. But, hey, I'm the patient, he's the doctor. He looks at the cyst. "I'm going to need a razor to shave around the area first. Where are the razors?" Uh-oh. No razors. The assistant goes out to look for one. "There aren't any razors," she reports. "Well, go over to Dermatology and get some," he says politely. I asked how they work their inventory system here. Obviously not very well.

Next comes the local, then the cutting, then the visual proof that he'd actually removed the cyst (nice and bloody, of course), then the suturing, then the gauze pad without adhesive in place, then "Okay, you can get dressed." I could feel the excess blood dripping between my legs (the cyst was fortuitously located on my right gluteus minimus). Okay. That was fun.

After the doctor left, the nurse was apologetic for her clumsiness. I consoled her. I was thinking earlier: All of this high tech, modern marvel medicine and expertise and was only costing me a small co-pay. I forgot about the sky-scraping monthly payment 'miser' receives from its members. But I guess it's better than do-it-yourself surgeries.

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